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FOREIGN MINISTER KAMIKAWA:  (Via interpreter) Tony, please let me begin by extending my heartfelt welcome on your visit to Japan.  First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims, including U.S. citizens, of the recent terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian militants, and express my sympathies to the grieving families.  We also hope for the earliest possible release of the hostages, which includes U.S. citizens.  Japan unequivocally condemns such actions that have caused this.  We appreciate the diplomatic efforts by the U.S. on the recent situation in Israel and Palestine.  You have our utmost support.

Beyond this issue, the international community is facing various challenges, including the situation in Ukraine, East Asia, among others.  The solid unity between Japan and the U.S. is especially critical at this time.  Tony, I very much look forward to having thorough discussions with you today.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yoko, thank you so much.  First, it’s always wonderful to be back in Japan, and this is a critically important time.  We’re so grateful for Japan’s leadership of the G7, especially in this moment.  The agenda that Japan has set for the G7, including enduring support for Ukraine, the work that we’re doing together to combat economic coercion, our engagement and support for countries around the world as they tackle issues of great importance to their own people as well as to ours, from climate change to global health to food security, and, of course, the work that we’re doing together in terms of trilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea – all of these are vital, and we applaud Japan’s leadership.

And, of course, I very much appreciate the words of support and sympathy in the wake of the horrific attack by Hamas that did result, as you noted, in American victims as well as American hostages.  This is a very important moment as well for the G7 to come together in the face of this crisis and to speak, as we do, with one clear voice.  I look forward as you do to our discussions, and again, my thanks and appreciation to you personally and to Japan for bringing us together.

U.S. Department of State

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